Sept. 25-26, 2023

The second annual Climate Transitions Dialogue (CTD) will take place Sept. 25-26, 2023 at CSU Spur in Denver, CO.

Registration is now closed. Please check back for next years dialogue.

Event Agenda

Sept. 25:

Time Slot Title Description Speakers
9-10:00am Registration Registration is open, coffee and snacks served  
10-10:30am Welcome Meeting organizers provide overview of the day Peter Backlund, CSU
Courtney Schultz, CSU
SPUR Representative
10:30-11:15am Plenary Talks and Q&A Introductory talks focused on climate change in Colorado from human and natural systems perspectives. “Climate Change and My Community”- Ean Tafoya, Green Latinos
“Climate Change in CO: Past and Future” – Russ Schumacher, CSU
11:15-12:30pm Panel Discussion and Q&A: Reducing the Impacts of Climate Change Panel discussions focusing on climate-related impacts in Colorado “Coping with More Frequent Extreme Heat” – Olga Wilhelmi, NCAR
“Adapting to the Changing Fire Risks” – Angela Boag, CO DNR
“Managing Water in a Changing Climate” – Rick Marsicek, Chief Water Resource Strategy Officer, Denver Water
Facilitator: Courtney Schultz, CSU
12:30-1:30pm Lunch Participants split into subgroups, move to breakout rooms for lunch and networking  
1:30-2:30pm Breakout Session 1 Separate groups discuss questions relevant to the day’s panels. (~40 people per group)  
2:30-2:45pm Break Networking & Coffee, return to Plenary room  
2:45-4:00pm Panel Discussion and Q&A: Opportunities for Private Sector Action Panel discussions focusing on the non-government private sector’s role in climate change Kevin Brinkman, Brinkman Real Estate
Sarah Jane (SJ) Maxted, Deloitte
Liz Hunt, Syngenta
Jack Fritzinger, Timberline Strategies
Facilitator: Scott Shrake, CSU
4-4:30pm Plenary Talk New Climate Change Activities at CSU CSU President Amy Parsons, CSU
4:30-5:00pm Closing Summary of Day  
5-6:30pm Reception Refreshments served All

Sept. 26:

Time Slot Title Description Speakers
9-9:15am Welcome Coffee served, overview of the day Courtney Schultz, Peter Backlund
9:15-10:30am Panels and Questions: Views from State Government Panel discussions focused on state government perspective and efforts toward climate resilience “Improving CO’s Climate Resiliency” – Anne Miller, CO Resilience Office
“Adaptation Roadmap for CO” – Jonathan Asher, CO Governor’s Office
“Challenges for Agriculture Adaptation in CO” – Cindy Lair, CO Dept. of Ag.
Facilitator: Peter Backlund, CSU
10:30-10:45am Break
10:45-12pm Panel: Adaptation at the Local and Community Level Panel discussion focused on adaptation planning efforts, progress, and challenges at the county and city levels. Heidi Pruess, Larimer County
Lis Cohen, City of Denver
Cathie Pagano, Gunnison County
Facilitator: Marguerite Harden, CO Resilience Office
12:15-1:30pm Lunch In breakout rooms: Participants get lunch; Discussion and networking
1:30-2:30pm Breakout Session 2 Participants return to smaller groups, resume discussion. (~40 people per group)
2:30-3:00pm Identification of Next Steps Return to Plenary; Discussion and suggestions for next year
3:00pm Adjourn

Event Details:

The Climate Transitions Dialogue was initiated by Colorado State University in 2022 to facilitate sustained discussion of the many significant climate change issues facing our region. The Dialogue aims to foster deeper communication and shared understanding among climate change researchers, government officials, business people, and concerned citizens. Our goal is to create a network of informed stakeholders and stimulate new collaborations that reduce the negative impacts of climate change on people, communities, and ecosystems in Colorado. The first dialogue, held at CSU in Fort Collins on June 6-7, 2022, attracted approximately 125 participants.

The upcoming Second Climate Transitions Dialogue will be held at CSU’s new Spur complex in Denver, on Sept. 25-26, 2023.  It will consist of a mix of presentations, expert panels, small group discussions, and networking sessions. Topics will include:

  • Observed and projected climate change in CO and the mountain west
  • Changing risks of extreme heat, wildfire, drought, and floods
  • Vulnerability, impacts, and adaptive capacity of key sectors and systems
  • Perspectives from urban and rural communities, businesses, and concerned citizens
  • State and national climate change goals and policy frameworks

Goal of the 2023 CTD: The Climate Transitions Dialogue aims to foster deeper communication and shared understanding among climate change researchers, government officials, businesspeople, and concerned citizens. Our goal is to enable the development of new collaborations that reduce the negative impacts of climate change on people, communities, and ecosystems in Colorado. 

Parameters of Panels and Breakouts: 

  • Panels of 3 – 5 speakers will offer either a discussion moderated by a facilitator the entire time or offer 10 minutes of presentations with a Q+A at the end. 
  • Breaks will occur after the panels, consisting of a rapporteur, chair, experts per group; amounting to 4 break-out groups of roughly 50 people. Break out groups will focus on answering a series of questions relevant to the prior panel. 

Seating is limited, register early.


Climate change is a complex, multi-faceted challenge for Colorado and surrounding states. Increased amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, caused mainly by fossil fuel use, are leading to more intense rain and snowfall, more frequent and severe heat waves, and increased drought, flood, and wildfire risk. These changes pose serious problems for urban, rural, and wilderness areas and many critical economic sectors in our region, including energy, agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. Addressing them requires two broad types of response:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to minimize the amount of climate change we experience
  • Developing effective adaptation strategies that minimize the negative impacts from the climate change that does occur